The 32-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and UFC fighter’s first flyweight title defense won’t come against Cody Garbrandtafter all.
Figueiredo (19-1) will face Alex Perezat UFC 255 on November 21 after Garbrandt withdrew from the title fight because of an injury, according to ESPN.
The news was first reported by Combate.
Garbrandt tweeted that he tore his biceps on Monday. “Title shot in 2021,” he said in the tweet.
The fight will mark Figueiredo’s first title defense after he defeated Joseph Benavidez to win the vacant title in July. It was supposed to mark Garbrandt’s flyweight debut. It is unclear how long he will be out, sources said.
Perez (24-5) has won three fights in a row and 11 of his past 12. He most recently defeated Jussier Formigavia first-round TKO in June. Perez has a 6-1 UFC record.
The 26-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American mixed martial artist, the younger brother of former UFC champion Anthony Pettis, defeated Ricky Bandejas via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) this weekend in the bantamweight main event of Bellator 242.
Bellator, the second-most prominent MMA promotion in the U.S. after the UFC, hadn’t held an event since February 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The card took place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, overseen by the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation.
COVID-19 protocols were implemented, including multiple coronavirus tests and the keeping of fighters, corners and staff within a kind of bubble at the Mohegan Sun resort and casino.
The original Bellator 242 main event was supposed to be a bout for the bantamweight title between Juan Archuleta and Patrick Mix, but Archuleta withdrew. The expectation is that bout will be rebooked for the belt.
During his fight, Pettis put himself in the No. 1 contender conversation. He had an economical performance against Bandejas, outstriking the taller man and piling on the calf kicks through the first two rounds. At one point, Bandejas seemed to lose his footing due to the damage caused by those repeated kicks to the lower part of his left leg.
In the third round, both men opened up. Pettis wasn’t content to cruise to a decision and put forth several flashy techniques, clearly looking for a knockout. Pettis threw spinning kicks, and Bandejas came back with some of his own, including a wheel kick to the head that was just barely blocked by Pettis. Pettis threw another spinning kick with seconds remaining that narrowly missed as well.
Pettis (20-5) has won three straight, including his first two in Bellator. The Milwaukee native left the UFC as a free agent last year with a 9-5 record in the organization, going back and forth between flyweight and bantamweight. Pettis owns a victory over Joseph Benavidez, who just fought for the UFC flyweight title last weekend in Abu Dhabi.
Bandejas (13-4) had a two-fight winning streak snapped. The New Jersey native propelled himself up the Bellator bantamweight ladder in 2018 when he stunningly knocked out Conor McGregor protégé James Gallagher. Bandejas, 28, trains out of the vaunted American Top Team in Florida.
The 32-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and UFC fighter has defeated Joseph Benavidez to claim the vacant UFC flyweight championship.
In a rematch of their controversial bout earlier this year, Figueiredo knocked down Benavidezthree times and then choked him out at 4:48 of the first round in the main event of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi.
In the opening seconds Figueiredo clipped Benavidez with a right hand, then attempted to cinch in a rear-naked choke on the ground. Benavidez bravely fought off the move and was able to get back on his feet. But he couldn’t do that a second time. Figueiredo blasted him with a whipping right hand in the final minute of the first, then pounced and locked in the submission to earn the title victory. Benavidez didn’t have a chance to tap out — he went unconscious and referee Marc Goddard called the fight.
“I said I was going to break Benavidez, and that’s exactly what I did,” Figueiredo said. “I gave him his first submission on his record, and the fight itself was a great show. I gave everyone a show. He didn’t surprise me at all tonight.”
Coming in, ESPN had Figueiredo ranked as its No. 2 MMA flyweight in the world, and Benavidez No. 3. Figueiredo is now just the third flyweight champion in UFC history, following the legendary Demetrious Johnson and the recently retired former double champ Henry Cejudo.
“I’m available for whoever the UFC wants to put in front of me. Anyone at my level,” Figueiredo said. “But you have to be at my level, because I’m a knockout artist, I’m going to knock you out. I’m going home tomorrow, and we’re going to start celebrating with all Brazilians on the flight back, and as soon as I land in Brazil everyone is going to be taking pictures and congratulating me, so it’s going to be a great party.”
Benavidez and Figueiredo first fought on Feb. 29 in Norfolk, Virginia. The bout was supposed to decide the vacant title, but Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 pounds. Due to the weight miss, Benavidez was the only one who could win the belt in the fight — but Figueiredo ended up stopping Benavidez by TKO in the second round.
There was some dispute there, too. Figueiredo’s finish came right after a clash of heads that rocked Benavidez, who had won the first round. The circumstances led to the UFC granting Benavidez an immediate rematch.
The 33-year-old mixed martial artist, a two-weight UFC champion and former Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler, defended his 135-pound title for the first time on Saturday night, defeating Dominick Cruz (22-3) via TKO at 4 minutes, 58 seconds of the second round at UFC 249at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
Cejudo (16-2) shocked the mixed martial arts world moments later when he announced he doesn’t intend to fight again.
“I’m happy with my career,” Cejudo said. “I’ve done enough in the sport. I want to walk away and enjoy myself. I’m 33 years old. I have a girl now, watching me from back home. Since I was 11, I’ve sacrificed my life to get to where I was tonight. I’m retiring tonight. Uncle Dana [UFC president Dana White], thank you. Everybody here, thank you so much.”
White appeared on SportsCenter later Saturday and said he wasn’t surprised by Cejudo’s announcement.
“It really didn’t shock me,” he said. “Cejudo has been talking about retirement to us for months. I’m of the belief that if you’re talking about retirement in the fight business, you should probably retire.”
Before leaving the cage, Cejudo declared himself the best combat-sports athlete of all time. His only two losses in MMA came against Demetrious Johnson, the longest-reigning flyweight champion in UFC history, and Joseph Benavidez. Cejudo avenged his loss to Johnson two years after the first meeting.
If this does prove to be Cejudo’s final appearance, it was an impressive one.
Cruz hadn’t fought in 1,226 days because of injury, but he was still widely recognized coming in as the greatest bantamweight of all time.
Cejudo’s longtime head coach, Eric Albarracin, told ESPN that he believed Cejudo was still “in his prime.”
“I only think he’s getting better. It’s a somber moment, when someone retires in his prime,” Albarracin said. “I understand it, though. We’ve been on a hell of a run. I’ve been with him since 2004. He’s gotten it done. Every goal we’ve ever set, he’s accomplished. He’s beaten every legend they set in front of him.”
Albarracin said “there was something a little bit off this week” with Cejudo.
“I was trying to figure it out, but I couldn’t put my finger on it,” Albarracin said. “I was ready to have him call out Jose Aldo, Alex Volkanovski and Conor McGregor after this fight, and he told me no. I think if Dana White were to add another zero to his paycheck, he’d have a hard time not coming back, but maybe he just does want to move on.”
Cejudo appeared to echo Albarracin’s point, saying at his postfight news conference, “I really do want to walk away, but money talks.”
The second-round finish came after Cejudo badly hurt Cruz with a right knee to the temple. Cejudo immediately pounced on him and dropped a hard right hand and a series of unanswered left hands until referee Keith Peterson stopped the bout. It is the first knockout loss of Cruz’s 15-year professional career.
“I’m ruthless,” Cejudo said. “I may be cringe-y, corny — but boy, can I fight.”
Coming into this weekend, ESPN ranked Cejudo the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.